Make arrangements for your pets as part of your household disaster planning. If you must evacuate your home, it's always best to take your pets with you.
For health and space reasons, pets are only allowed in selected public emergency shelters. The key to preparedness is to plan ahead to ensure their care.
Before a disaster or emergency
Contact your local animal shelter, humane society, veterinarian or emergency management office for information on shelters available and other resources for pets or livestock in an emergency. Find out the locations of shelters for pets and livestock in emergencies. Also, see if your veterinarian will board or care for animals in an emergency.
If planning to travel with your pet, purchase a pet kennel or carrier that allows your pet room to stand up and turn around inside.
If your pet is on medication or a special diet, make sure to check with your veterinarian for instructions for emergencies:
When assembling emergency supplies for the household, include items for pets:
Trained Guide Dogs
In most states, trained guide dogs for the blind, hearing impaired or handicapped will be allowed to stay in emergency shelters with their owners. Check with local emergency management officials for more information.
During an emergency
Bring your pets inside immediately. Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet outside or tied up during a storm.
If you evacuate and have to leave your pet at home, prepare a safe location for it and arrange for a caretaker or neighbor to provide food and water after the hurricane.
After an emergency
If after a disaster you have to leave town, take your pets with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own.
In the first few days after the disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Always maintain close contact. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost.
Also, snakes and other dangerous animals may be brought into the area with flood water. Downed power lines are a hazard. The behavior of your pets may change after an emergency. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. Leash dogs and place them in a fenced yard with access to shelter and water.